10 If you must use points,...
10 If you must use points, precision tuning is paramount. Point gap should be set with the rubbing block lubricated. Check average gap on all six lobes. Drag on the thickness gauge should be ever so slight and more on the wide side to allow for rubbing block wear. Make sure points make contact evenly and check point wear after 500 miles of driving. Check vacuum advance for proper operation.
Ignition problems are easier to understand and solve than fuel system woes. Rule of thumb is to never trust new parts right out of the box; just because an ignition wire set is new doesn't mean it's going to function properly. The same can be said for distributor caps and ignition kits. In fact, most ignition kits are manufactured offshore these days and not the same caliber they used to be. If you must use points and condenser, opt for a Motorcraft tune-up kit because they're still manufactured to the same high standards you expect from Ford. We're talking phenolic rubbing blocks and vented contact points, not the cheesy nylon stuff you find at discount stores. Spend the money to buy the best.
MCE Engines in Los Angeles has a strict regiment when it comes to the finite details of engine tuning. Marvin McAfee shows us time and again why you must never trust anything right out of the box. Marvin checks quality (material condition) and continuity (resistance or an open circuit) of every ignition part he installs. Ignition wires sometimes have breaks you cannot see. New spark plugs sometimes suffer from zero continuity (no spark) and must be discarded. And sometimes, it's as simple as a bad ground between engine and chassis, which creates all kinds of electrical gremlins.
11 Ignition wires don't get...
11 Ignition wires don't get enough attention during installation, which creates all kinds of problems. Seat the terminals firmly in the distributor cap using dielectric compound. Do the same at each spark plug. Run ignition wires as parallel and as far apart as you can to prevent crossfire. And remember, spark plugs and ignition wires can fail at any time. When there's a misfire, begin your troubleshooting here first.
When engines develop a misfire, it's easy to assume the worst. Instead, Marvin suggests going after the simplest things first. Most of the time, misfire comes from faulty ignition components. Marvin stresses the use of genuine Motorcraft or Autolite spark plugs and ignition components, advice that comes from experience with a wide variety of ignition parts.
Three For Six
When the compact Ford sixes were introduced 50 years ago, aftermarket companies like Offenhauser got on board with performance products designed to improve performance. The three one-barrel carburetor setup was one approach using Holley or Autolite carburetors. Those classic Holley 1904, 1908, and 1909 one-barrel carburetors look sharp and perform well when you can find them. Pony Carburetors is the first stop in your search because they have a huge inventory of cores and access to a vast network of sources if it isn't in stock.
The Holley 1904 carburetor, introduced in 1952, was used primarily on the 223, 240, and 300ci sixes. The 144 and 170 got the Holley 1908 carburetor with a glass bowl. The 1909 carburetor was introduced in 1962 atop the 144 and 170 with an automatic choke. You also have the option of three Autolite 1100 series carburetors for the Offy induction system.
The Offenhauser 3/1 induction system doesn't necessarily deliver trailblazing performance. It does improve fuel/air distribution, placing two carburetors toward each end of the log-style intake manifold to improve drivability while offering crisp response and a steady application of torque under acceleration.
Summit Racing Equipment has the classic Offenhauser induction system for vintage Ford sixes, part number OFY-5205, which includes the three one-barrel manifold, attachment hardware, gaskets, and progressive linkage. It does not include the carburetors, which can be sourced from Pony Carburetors or Mustangs Etc.
Redline Cooling offers high...
Redline Cooling offers high caliber radiators and electric cooling fans at prices well within most budgets. These guys are designed specifically for classic Mustangs with sixes and V-8s--with and without electric fans.
We don't hear much about overheating with six-cylinder Mustangs because they had adequate cooling systems from the factory, unlike their V-8 counterparts. Still, if factory cooling is adequate, you can do even better with a three or four-row core radiator, high-flow water pump, and proper cooling fan configuration.
Mustangs Plus offers a nice array of three and four-row core copper/brass radiators for six-cylinder Mustangs. They also have Scott Drake high-capacity, aluminum radiators for six-cylinder Mustangs. We've also worked with Redline Cooling, which offers custom and mass-production aluminum radiators for classic Mustangs. Redline's cooling capacity is unequalled, offering enthusiasts outstanding radiators at reasonable prices.
When you're planning your Mustang six's cooling system, plan for extreme conditions at each end of the heat spectrum. Although some opt for a 160-degree thermostat, we recommend a 180-degree thermostat because you want your six to operate warmer rather than cooler. Cold engines aren't as efficient for one thing. For another, lubrication doesn't perform as well in a cold engine. Replace your Mustang's thermostat every two years, which is when cooling system service (flush, fresh antifreeze) is suggested. Replace hoses every four years, and always use an anti-collapse spring in the lower hose.
Mustangs Plus offers high-quality...
Mustangs Plus offers high-quality Scott Drake aluminum radiators for classic Mustangs. If your desire is to keep a stock demeanor, you can always paint an aluminum radiator satin black while getting improved cooling capacity.
Fan type and configuration...
Fan type and configuration are very important choices. The most efficient type of engine-driven fan is the thermostatic clutch fan, which engages only when you need it. Second best is a flex fan, which becomes more aerodynamic with engine speed. Use of a fan shroud is also important because it improves air velocity and flow across the radiator. Fan depth should be half way into the shroud for optimum cooling.
There are several schools...
There are several schools of thought when it comes to coolant. Water is the most effective coolant. However, corrosion issues make pure water unrealistic. The use of water with a corrosion inhibitor works for optimum heat transfer, but isn't popular with most. One engine builder suggests 100-percent antifreeze to prevent corrosion and freeze-ups. Although pure ethylene glycol doesn't transfer heat as well as water, it does transfer heat without corrosion issues if you have a high-capacity radiator. There's also Evans non-aqueous coolant, which is used all by itself without water. It is very expensive, but never needs to be replaced.